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How Bitcoin Can Bring Down The United States Of America

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Swarm Economy

Swarm Economy

Bitcoin represents a significant threat to the currency domination of the USA, which is the only thing propping up the nation’s status as a worldwide superpower. Following the USA’s defaulting on all its international loans on August 15, 1971, the US trade balance has been maintained using a combination of military threats and telling people to buy US dollars just to fund the ongoing consumption of the USA. Where other world currencies have failed to challenge the USD, and therefore this mechanism of maintaining US economic dominance, bitcoin may succeed.

To understand this scenario, we need to understand just how bankrupt the United States of America is. For some reason, most spotlights at the moment are pointed at the failing Euro; this is probably in part due to the fact that the US Dollar failed long ago, and is being kept alive by blowing up a bubble harder by the day. An ELI5 version can be found here (ELI5 meaning “explain it like I’m five”), but in a nutshell, the USA defaulted on its international loans following the Vietnam War, and has been borrowing more money to fund its extravagant consumption ever since. Since long ago, more money is now borrowed just to pay interest on the previous loans. Last year, the United States’ budget deficit was an astonishing 50% of the budget – for every US Dollar in revenue, two were spent. Remarkably, this isn’t discussed a lot – I imagine if it were, the US’ ability to pay back its loans would be called into question, something that would bring down the house of cards like a ton of bricks dumped on top, so nobody is really interested in rocking the boat too much. After all, everybody is sitting on USD reserves that would become worthless overnight if that were to happen.

The United States started its money printing presses on August 15, 1971, and has kept them going ever since. Just in 2011, 16 trillion dollars – that’s trillion with a T – were printed to prop up the US economy. How much is that in perspective? It’s slightly more than the US gross production combined. For every dollar produced of value, one more was printed out of thin air, in the hope that somebody would buy it. And people do. That’s the thing – there is a key mechanism here that forces people to keep buying US dollars.

The United States is kept alive as a nation by the fact that if anybody wants to purchase goods from another nation, like China, they first have to buy US Dollars from the USA, then exchange those USD for the goods they want in China. That, and the fact that this results in all countries buying tons of USD to put in their currency reserves.

The fact that people must keep buying USD to get what they want from anybody else in the world is the mechanism that props up the entire US economy, and more importantly, fuels its military which in turn enforces this mechanism (see Iraq, Libya, Iran, etc). It’s a cycle of violence-enforced economic dominance that leads to extravagant spending, and an enabled such spending, by the United States – mostly on military power to maintain that very dominance.

(As a side note, it’s questionable how much the middle class in the United States benefits from this any longer. A decade ago, this feedback loop made the normal standard of living in the US noticeably higher than in other parts of the Western world; today, the US comes pretty much last in every category of standard of living.)

As “end of the world” articles are typically discarded as tinfoilhattery, I wanted to start this article with establishing economic facts on the table. The USA is bankrupt, and the only thing keeping it from collapsing are its military and the fact that everybody else is so heavily invested in the USA that nobody wants it to go bankrupt on their watch. Thus, the borrowing and overspending continues for another day… until it doesn’t.

What would happen if the US were one day unable to continue its overspending? We would see a mighty crash of the global economy, but more importantly, the US would come down in a Soviet-style collapse, only much worse due to structural differences. (To understand these differences, consider the fact that public transport kept running through the Soviet collapse, and that most families were well-prepared for food shortages. In the US, you would instead have people stranded in suburbs with no fuel, food, or medicine – only lots of weapons and ammo. See Orlov’s collapse gap for more on this structural difference.)

Enter bitcoin, which can break the cycle of borrowing and overspending.

As we observed, the key reason that people are forced to buy US Dollars today is that it’s the international mechanism of exchange of value. If you want a gadgetoid from China or India, you need to first buy US dollars, and then exchange the US Dollars for the gadgetoid. But as we have seen, bitcoin far outshines the US Dollar in every aspect as a value token for international trade. Using bitcoin is cheaper, easier, and much much faster than today’s international systems for transfer of value.

Pretty much everybody I’ve spoken to who is involved in international trade would switch to a bitcoin-like system in a heartbeat if they were able to, venting years of built-up frustration with the legacy banking system (which uses the USD). If that happens, the US won’t be able to find buyers for its newly-printed money that keeps its economy propped up (and its military funded).

If the cycle of dollar lock-in breaks, the United States of America comes crashing down. Hard. It would seem inevitable at this point, and bitcoin may be the one mechanism that breaks the cycle.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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118

  1. 1

    Yahoo! Great post, Rick.

    You see it, I see it, a lot of my friend see it. But it seems that so many journalists, regulators, commentators and even would-be Bitcoin thought- and business-leaders simply do not understand, yet, just how deep the Bitcoin rabbit hole goes. They don’t understand that this is a technology that *will* alter every society around the world, to the great benefit of every human being, and do so rather soon. It’s a great time to be alive!

    PS: Um, that’s an ELI8, not an ELI5 ;)

    • 1.1
      Ano Nymous

      Well, not to those without food, fuel etc. but with plenty of guns and ammo…

      There is of course another way out – just cooperate to produce enough of that stuff, and start exchanging things with each other – but I doubt people will be smart enough for that. Especially because of the short notice.

      • 1.1.1
        anon

        Well, you can still print paper bitcoins, and if you trust the institution that prints it you can handle it just like cash. You’re scary close to being fiat again, but the institution that prints it doesn’t have to be a government, just someone that is trusted to print good and safe paper money that can be handled well.

      • 1.1.2
        mijj

        > There is of course another way out – just cooperate to produce enough of that stuff, and start exchanging things with each other

        … woah! .. that sounds dangerously close to socialism. US indoctrination against mutual cooperation and in favor of alienation has resulted in a deep revulsion at the thought of cooperation without obvious profit.

        There are lots of pieces of advice around for americans on how to prepare for economic collapse. And they’re all concerned with an individual holing up with weapons and stores and fighting off the hordes until the bitter end.

        • Anon.ymo.us

          Americans have not been brainwashed against socialism since the 1980’s. In fact, many teachers brainwash American kids into socialism. Even when they were, it was typically against state socialism, not the voluntary kind.

    • 1.2

      Hey, Mike! What a wonderful surprise to see you here! :-)

  2. 2
    Datavetaren

    There’s another blog (thegenesisblock.com, http://www.thegenesisblock.com/bitcoin-the-newest-tool-in-chinas-currency-war-chest/) who put forward the argument that China in fact wants to break this vicious cycle (the dollar being the world currency reserve).

    In fact, China tried to do this in March 2009, but they failed to get any positive response. China was in fact willing to step back its own currency if the “world” would accept a new currency that wasn’t so easily inflated.

    The Bitcoin friendly news on CCTV (China national broadcast) may indicate that China considers to enforce Bitcoin as the new international world currency. Meanwhile they are taking steps to bypass the dollar intermediate transition using bilateral trade agreements (starting from April 2013 they have direct transfers with Australia and Brazil and thus bypassing USD exchanges).

    China definitely has the power to throw U.S. overboard, but it is of course in China’s own interest that U.S. doesn’t crash completely as it is their current biggest export market. However, China is struggling hard to ensure that its own nation can carry the growth by itself (instead relying on exporting). China is investing more in Europe as well, presumably to spread their risks. It also seems that China is preparing for the total financial apocalypse as they are also buying tons of gold.

    2013-2014 are going to be very interesting years.

    • 2.1
      Andreas

      i agree china should see bitcoin as a big win.

      let’s also not forget china has some significant strategic advantages of asics, knowhow and resources. this might play a part in their thinking as well.

      • 2.1.1
        Datavetaren

        It’s not totally meaningless, but almost. They’ll not be able to get more than 3600 BTC per day. It would be so much easier for PBoC to buy them at MtGox. Sure, the price will spike with total BTC market cap matching what they put in, but that should be good enough.

        If China makes that move, it means that Bitcoin is here to stay.

        I wonder what staff at MtGox would think if they see a official registered account from PBoC? “Holy sh-t” to put it mildly :)

        • harveyed

          It will have a value if the rest of the world agrees. If it becomes known that vast majority of bit coins are owned by chinese, maybe most non-chinese people won’t be too keen on accepting it as a currency. After all, already half of all bitcoins have been mined…

        • Anonymous

          3600 BTC/day are the same as 900 000 000 €/year. That’s a lot of money. If I was a government, I would surely want to get some part of that, especially since the Bitcoin is deflating.

      • 2.1.2
        harveyed

        Does not USA still have know how advantage when comes to computer hard wares?

        • dmol8

          If memory serves me there is only on US federal org that has good computer know how and they keep getting ignored for the most part by everybody else in the US government.

        • harveyed

          Well.. I meant not only parts of govt but the hardware know how in the states as a whole. Silicon Valley and hardware industry there is pretty strong. Has China really caught up with that momentum the US has had for so long when comes to electronics and computers? If US still is best in hard wares probably cryptocurrencies will mostly skew the balance of power between businesses within the states rather than abroad?

    • 2.2
      Name of my choice

      Libya was so close to creating golden dinar, currency backed by gold, but suddenly evil dictator was sending rape squads around country and something had to be done.

      Even Iraq challenged US dollar by selling oil in different currency, but then they started to manufacture weapons of mass destruction shortly after and something needed to be done.

      • 2.2.1
        Datavetaren

        Libya and Iraq are tiny nations. If China makes the move U.S. won’t be able to do anything about it.

      • 2.2.2
        Muammar and Saddam

        Surely you know that we didn’t send rape squads and didn’t possess WMD;-)

      • 2.2.3
        harveyed

        Is gold really so valuable anymore? I mean other more useful rare earth metals must be more valuable… well those required in creating high quality computer hardwares for instance… :)

        • Mirco

          Yes, it is.
          It is a good store of value compared to fiat and a lot less risky than bitcoin.
          My opinion is gold, silver (or convertible fiat) and bitcoin will become the future money, store of value and principal mean of indirect exchange.

        • Austin Williamson

          No, it isn’t. Gold in itself is fundamentally worthless. The rare-earth metals used in electronics are actually worth more because they’re more versatile. Gold is only good for “showy” displays of wealth.

      • 2.2.4
        Jake

        I don’t think the US went to Iraq about WMD’s. Per US definition, a weapon of mass destruction is a “destructive device” which includes “any explosive, incendiary or poison gas.”

        WMD’s are still being made in Iraq, so it obviously wasn’t the reason.

    • 2.3
      Datavetaren

      Interestingly, Jonathan Stacke at thegenesisblock.com has a new article on this as well: http://www.thegenesisblock.com/the-time-has-come-for-a-stateless-reserve-currency/

  3. 3

    Hi Falkvinge,

    I agree totally with your point and like your article.

    I would like to point out more correctly though that Bitcoin can bring down the US *Empire*.

    The nation USA could still continue to exist after the end its empire, much like Great Britain or Russia do after the fall of their respective empires.

    • 3.1

      The nation USA could still continue to exist after the end its empire, much like Great Britain or Russia do after the fall of their respective empires.

      While this is theoretically correct, I would consider the US too disparate in values to re-gather as one nation following an economic collapse. Russia is a good example. It wasn’t Russia pre-collapse, it was Soviet Union.

      If I were betting money, it would be on the midwest breaking out into some sort of Jesusville and the coasts remaining mostly industrious, with Texas being a complete wildcard.

      • 3.1.1
        chalbersma

        How much are you betting?

      • 3.1.2
        Scary Devil Monastery

        Well, the bible belt, given a halfway chance to secede from the dens of iniquity on the west and east coast would do so in a shot.

        California, if they could rally their economy, also loses very little in cutting the cord. Whether or not the good ole boys down south decide to reestablish the confederate states by that time really doesn’t matter, if the “US” becomes cored like an apple due to a collapse.

      • 3.1.3
        Romanovic

        That different parts of the US have disparate values is not a barrier to remaining united in the face of economic downturn or collapse (economic expediency is not and has never been the keystone to the union – it runs much more deeply than that). From the beginning, all government powers were reserved for individual states, and the public, except for a few explicitly stated powers that are delegated to the Federal Government.

        That the US government has too broadly interpreted these delegated powers, resulting in a bloated, overspending, inefficient organisation that has set the nation up for economic failure is not lost on the population (well, maybe a few).

        While the US dollar’s fall from dominance (after being unseated by another currency such as bitcoin) might be devastating to a federal government that already has such a large problem managing its own finances, this is not somehow fundamentally incompatible with the US system of government. The States collectively do not need the the federal government to exert influence in this way to remain coherent. Many of our state governments and citizens across the nation very reasonably desire to cut the US federal government down to size (especially to reduce its power over state and local governments), even if it means enduring some painful changes in the short term. Some states (for years) have even looked into producing their own currency to reduce dependence on the US dollar.

        That being said, I am fascinated by the potential of bitcoin and other crypto-currencies to revolutionise how we exchange money. Whatever happens, we’re going to see some interesting changes with this new monetary freedom.

      • 3.1.4

        Your party is slowly but steadily growing Rick, as more and more people around the world get to know about you. I read and follow all your comments/reports, as they are usually good and informative & I post them on my site.

        However there is more to add to your report above. Bitcoin is attributed to a name, supposedly from Japan (Satoshi Nakamoto). But in actual fact the new proposed World Currency Reserve, was started years ago by a group of certain approved countries, (which did not include the US), and is continuing to grow in the world. I put together and posted a full report some years ago on my site, with more info and links within, which may interest you:

        http://www.dreamteamdownloads1.com/world-news/14256-update-end-america-coming-some-americans-preparing-true-facts-video.html

        *If you do not allow links to other sites, my apologies and please remove it.
        Also can you share with me a drop of that delicious whisky you so enjoy…. Being Irish I am partial to ” drop of the hard stuff”

        Regards and continual best wishes on your future success.

        Barbara

      • 3.1.5

        Please forgive my late reply. Your observation is astute, Mr. Falkvinge:

        “I would consider the US too disparate in values to re-gather as one nation following an economic collapse. “

        Our disparate values and belief systems are already causing severe dissonance and increasing discontent in the U.S.A., even without an economic collapse! That isn’t so surprising, given the size of the country. There are good reasons to avoid growing beyond what one can handle. European and Middle-Eastern countries each have distinct national identities, even if forming economic alliances. i infer that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are better now than when consumed by the U.S.S.R.

        This, however, is not likely:

        the midwest [would] break out into some sort of Jesusville and the coasts [remain] mostly industrious, with Texas being a complete wildcard.

        The American Mid-West is highly industrious now. Much of the agricultural and manufacturing output of the U.S. is from Minnesota to Georgia, Oklahoma to western Pennsylvania. East coast ports are dormant, even the wonderful deepwater harbor of New York City. The port of Mobile, in Alabama is well-run, modern and very busy. Of course, the Republican senators in Alabama have been supportive of labor unions, unlike the coastal city Democrats, most of whom are interested in financial speculation, blue sky ventures or social media. Silicon Valley WAS industrious, but much of that has moved to S. Korea and S.E. Asia.

        You are correct about Texas. It *IS* a wildcard!

  4. 4
    Xcsler

    “Just in 2011, 16 trillion dollars – that’s trillion with a T – were printed to prop up the US economy.”

    RF,
    I think you’re missing a decimal point here. The total US debt is roughly 16T.
    The 2011 U.S. budget deficit was around 1.5 T.

    Agree with the rest though. Good job!

    • 4.1

      I know. Follow the link, there’s more info about the Fed’s 16T “slush fund” there.

      Cheers,
      Rick

    • 4.2
      Rassah

      The debt and total money supply are two separate things. What this basically said is that USA added as much cash to their total outstanding USD as they owe in debt. The total dollars in circulation is obviously WAY more than the 15 trillion we owe.

  5. 5
    Anonymous

    unfortunately for the rest of the planet, it will never happen!!

    • 5.1
      Datavetaren

      It will happen if China decides to. This is not a decision for U.S. (or Europe) to make. As U.S. is currently pissing off China 85 billions times a month, it is just a matter of time until China takes those 85 billions and put them into Bitcoins to prove a point.

  6. 6

    Is not the Bitcoin dependent on the accessibility of the internet to serve its purpose and retain any value whatsoever? What if there’s no internet — or at least nothing that resembles its present-day form, and limited access where there is access?

    Why Bitcoin over something tangible like gold, silver, heck, even copper? Sure, they may eventually try to confiscate it, but they may attempt to do likewise with guns. Americans seem ready for the latter proposition. This tells me the former would be an exercise in futility for the tyrannical oligarchs who would hand down such orders.

    I don’t get the entire concept of why investors should have faith in the Bitcoin, but I am eagerly waiting for someone to show me the light, so to speak, and point out where my misconceptions lie.

    • 6.1
      Austin Williamson

      Because Mesh networks.

      It is impossible to try to take down the ‘net without harming oneself- and even if all the ISPs disappeared today, mesh networks would sprout everywhere. Because Big Government actually uses wifi networks, they’ll be loathe to take ‘em down.

    • 6.2

      Fat Lester. that is my concern as well. To put it simply, emotionally, I don’t want anyone or anything to hurt the internet. But if they do, whomever “they” are, will make bitcoin vulnerable, as well as global currencies. (In my opinion, it really isn’t important exactly who “they” are, because the end result to most of us will be the same).

      Gold, silver and copper (good for you, for mentioning copper; very few people seem to appreciate its usefulness lately) won’t even be of much use if there is economic collapse. Hoarding firearms, ammunition and antibiotics won’t be effective in the longer term. Productive farmland might be, I’m not certain.

      I have read about Mesh networks. Austin W. described Mesh networks. That is a possibility. But I haven’t seen anything further, since approx. December 2011. All the sites where I learned about that quietly went away around then.

  7. 7
    Tobias

    What about the Euro as a currency to threaten the dollar? You are right. Currently the world looks at the failing euro, but only because US rating agencies tell the world that’s where we are supposed to look….
    If we wouldn’t let the EU be divided by these banks & rating agencies, don’t you think the Euro might even have a better chance of bringing down the dollar as a world reserve currency than bitcoin?

  8. 8

    Suppose the U.S. were subjected to a highly effective EMP attack. How does the Bitcoin avert a total collapse under such circumstances.

    Not looking to debate, merely understand the concept at hand.

    • 8.1
      Austin Williamson

      Let’s pretend this happened. It could occur in two ways:
      1) Simultaneous Nuclear Explosions
      2) Simultaneous HERF Cannons

      1) Would require around 80-ish big bombs, and it would probably wipe out all life too. In that case, there would be nary a soul around- apart from Sysadmins- and the only stuff surviving would be the shielded networks and servers of sysadmins. You’d wind up with a case very much like “When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth”, and you could bet that an internet of sorts would be up in six months, tops.

      2) would require a frick ton of either equipped drones or satellites- probably drones, because microwaves don’t really penetrate all that well, and they spread too much from space. The result would be that pretty much every car made since 1982 would be floored. Unshielded electronics would be hit. Stuff in basements might survive. In that case, geeks might manage to hack together some sort of mesh network in cities and get it to work- and with Bitwallets now working on Androids, things just got portable. Local councils would create new currencies, distribute it at the “tap”, and hand out a citizen’s income.

      In either case, bitcoin would survive, if only on geek’s computers. It would make a bigger comeback than gold or silver- because they suck to carry. Although I might add that the Fallout scenario would probably occur: BOTTLE CAPS EVERYWHERE.

  9. 9
    EJ

    You should actually read the report. The 16T number doesn’t reflect the amount of loans outstanding:

    Table 8 aggregates total dollar transaction amounts by adding the total dollar amount of all loans but does not adjust these amounts to reflect differences across programs in the term over which loans were outstanding. For example, an overnight PDCF loan of $10 billion that was renewed daily at the same level for 30 business days would result in an aggregate amount borrowed of $300 billion although the institution, in effect, borrowed only $10 billion over 30 days.

    See page 130 – 132 here:
    http://www.sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/GAO%20Fed%20Investigation.pdf#page143

    You’re basing your argument on table 8, when table 9 reflects the reality of the program.

  10. 10

    cool bitcoin illustration/picture thing

  11. 11
    harveyed

    Could it not just be that power internally in the USA will shift from govt to computer hard-ware industries..? Well… assuming that hasn’t already happened… =)

  12. 12

    Very interesting Rick, as always. I actually hope this will happen, since it would show the world how very wrong the concept of greed really is. And I hope China will act on this. Only problem is greed is also in China…

  13. 13
    flobalot

    so, what would happen if the combined computational power available to the U.S. Government were to be directed at Bitcoin mining?

    • 13.1
      Techanon

      They would still be at the mercy of bitcoin’s market swings. There’s not enough value in the bitocoin market to cover the US deficit anyway, let alone the fixed inflation that benefit miners.

  14. 14
    WiSH

    Every time Rik puffs bitcoin it seems to drop like a stone. Wonder if that’ll happen this time around? Pump’n’dump?

  15. 15
    Marten

    In terms of monetary politics and energy, there is already a shift of geological dimensions happening – China did begin to trade oil for its own currency:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/dollar-no-longer-primary-oil-currency-as-china-begins-to-sell-oil-using-yuan

    This is ever more important as the conventional oil production is not going to grow more – energy becomes scarcer and way more expensive, and the US is the economy which uses it with the least efficiency:

    http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/04/11/peak-oil-demand-is-already-a-huge-problem/

  16. 16
    Anonymous

    I think it ould benefit the american people if the US Government didn’t have to continue this bubble inflating circle to keep the ball moving and didn’t have an unlimited budget and instead had to focus on things and act more dilligently.
    So all this crashing would really be good for everyone. Right now it feels like everyone depends so much on this bubble full of lies that they keep adding more nd more complications to it, to keep it going, and it has become too tedious. 40 years of living on credit and doing everything they can to avoid the debts.

  17. 17
    Skylark

    “The fact that people must keep buying USD to get what they want from anybody else in the world is the mechanism that props up the entire US economy, and more importantly, fuels its military which in turn enforces this mechanism”

    Do you realize that that paradigm is essentially the same vicious cycle that acts internally to maintain the power of any state? Just substitute “national currency/legal tender” for “global reserve currency,” “anybody else in the country” for “anybody else in the world,” “the mechanism that props up the national government” for “the mechanism that props up the entire US economy,” “fuels its bureaucracy of enforcement” for “fuels its military” and there you have the modern nation state. But wait, you’re the same guy who wants to ban gun ownership by non-employees of the state, presumably by using the power of the state, so of course you would fail to see that.

    • 17.1

      Do you realize that that paradigm is essentially the same vicious cycle that acts internally to maintain the power of any state?

      Yes! This is a very astute observation, with tons of interesting ramifications.

      I wrote a little more about it in my very first blog post on bitcoin, in 2011, and I’m very curious to see how it plays out.

      Cheers,
      Rick

  18. 18
    Gear Mentation

    I had a big comment, but it deleted it due to forgeting the captcha. Get a better comment system please.

    • 18.1
      mpet

      Get a better browser :)

      • 18.1.1
        Gear Mentation

        What’s wrong with FireFox?

        • dmol8

          Oh nothing is wrong with Firefox as a browser and it does save my comments so it must be something else in either your computer that does not let you keep your drafts of comments or I picked up some program that lets me keep mine.

        • On the few times I get the captcha wrong for whatever reason, the whole comment is there if I hit the “back” button and I can fix the captcha response. I have to agree with Gear Mentation that this is not entirely as I would have wanted it – I would have wanted the browser to stay on the page with comment intact (but unposted) and the captcha highlighted in red.

          Still, I keep trying to improve the site. The captcha was necessary to combat a spam flood, unfortunately (and helped get rid of some 99%), and I think it’s not too instrusive compared to most captchas, which are more along the lines of “type the two words GARBLXÜ 他妈的关闭 in the box below”.

          Cheers,
          Rick

  19. 19

    Worthwhile to note is that the best “currency” a nation have, is it’s citizens. Without any citizens nothing has any value.

    The biggest difference between U.S and the rest of the world is it’s citizen’s effort, summarized this statement, by Isaac Asimov:

    “Never can we sit back and wait for miracles to save us. Miracles don’t happen.
    Sweat happens.
    Efforts happens.
    Thought happens.
    And it’s up to us to help. Of all that to happen.”

    • 19.1
      harveyed

      Yes. That is very true. No matter whatever happens economically, if people are still motivated to create new value, that is the important part.

  20. 20
    Satoshit

    Its very ironic that Rick rants about dollars and praises bitcoins when in reality its dollars that keep the ponzibitcoin scheme going.

  21. 21
    Satoshit

    i really wish that Rick would go a course in basic economics, the reason for USAs supremacy in worldeconomics is not their currency but what America and its citiziens own produce and invest in. Take away the dollar and America would still reign supreme.

    • 21.1
      Austin Williamson

      Oh, go back to scrubbing floors, janitor. The days of American invention and production is over, if you haven’t noticed: everything is now made in China. The USA literally produces nothing of value. The only thing being produced is data, and that’s worthless.

      Manufacturing is getting distributed with 3D printers and millers- although the economies of scale ensure that China will still kick everybody’s arses.

      take away the dolloar, and America starves. The military grinds to a halt, and China continues producing, and reigns supreme in this new world order.

      • 21.1.1
        Googla

        Austin I get it that you are in love with either Rick, Bitcoin or both,. But seriouly are you not aware that a large part of products that are produced in Asia are done on behalf of American companies ? Often engineered and invented by americans and developed with american funding. So why should China kick everybodies arses? Like it or not we live in a collborative world and americans are rightfully reaping the rewards of their efforts.
        And you don’t even seem to be aware that a lot of high end electronic components are not made in China for example CPUs and GPU’s. A lot of them are still made in USA and so ar loads of stuff sold and used all over the world i huge quantities.
        So thinking like you do that USA literally producs nothing of value anymore and that USA without the Dollar they would starve is a big fat fail. USA is by the way one of the worlds largest foodproducers.
        And no I am not of course not a janitor even though I cleaned you up good, boy!

  22. 22
    Tomas Radej

    Hey, Rick. Did you somehow omit the fact that the US has paid a BIG part of its debt in the 90s? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_debt

    • 22.1
      Austin Williamson

      With what money? Borrowed, or the stuff that was supposed to fund programs for citizens? There is no way in hell they could afford to do it.

  23. 23

    The US has already started to move against Bitcoin. It seems as if the operators of the exchanges will be the first targets. This will not be a quick operation. It will be fought in courtrooms and be the subject of tightening legislation over several years.
    The success of bitcoin depends on trust and the US government will put lots of efforts into undermining that trust.

    • 23.1
      Satoshit

      I believe a lot of the trust for bitcoin has been shattered by some of the bitcoinplayers themselves. Almost Everbody involved with bitcoins talks wide and prety but utheir main motivation is just to make a quick buck. And yeah this includes Falkvinge who is a major investor and promor in bitcoins but never admits to how many bitcoin he owns.

    • 23.2
      harveyed

      In the end they can’t stop people from paying each other directly in bitcoins and disregarding fiat entirely. They can maybe stop people from exchanging dollars or euros for BTC, but what good is that if it just makes people don’t want any dollars or euros anymore?

      The success of governments is also based on trust..

  24. 24
    sh

    Your claim about the US living standards being low is interesting. My impression was that the country has high average productivity and a high willingness to spend money on consumer products, leading to pretty good outcomes on the hedonism scale (though of course skewed along some axes, due to differing tastes).
    Where’s that information from? URLs plz.

  25. 25
    Googla

    Rick what would be good if USA was brought down? USA is the nation that keeps the whole world going, economy and innovationwise. Your idea of bitcoin taking over seems to me mostly to be a really bad recipe for disaster if youer wet dream would come through.

    • 25.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      The USA government is, at the moment, a rogue theocracy with nukes that contributes nothing little more than extortion to the world economy. This has been the case since the GATT was hijacked to push through the TRIPs agreement, creating lopsided tribute agreements masqueraded as free trade agreements, in the wake of the USA’s failing industrial production mid-1970s. Mostly triggered by competition from Japan in general and Toyota in particular.

      Cheers,
      Rick

      • 25.1.1
        Googla

        OK Rick we understand now that you really really really hate or are seriously envious of USA and it’s wealth and successes,

        Your claim that USAs governement contributes little more than extortion to the world economy is laughable, you really don’t have a clue do you? Or maybe you just want to be seen as an extremist?

        Seriously do you think that any world problems are being solved by hate extemism or envy?
        Or by hyping a ponzicurrency like Bitcoin?

        • Austin Williamson

          Go back to scrubbing the floor janitor.

        • Googla

          Austin whats your problem?

        • Austin Williamson

          @Googla:
          Nobody seems to understand that David Hayter is Big Boss in MGSV- Ground Zeroes. That’s my problem.

          the thing is, Googla, is that USA hasn’t contributed to the world economy much since the 70s. Sure, they “buy” a lot, with their play money and credit cards- and we know that the credit crisis will blow up again anytime now- but they don’t PRODUCE anything of real value to export.

        • Anonymous

          Austin its silly of you to state that the US haven’t contributed much to the world economy since the 70’s whenin fact a large significance of the largest and most powerful companies in the world are either owned or controlled by USA.
          And as I stated before USA is one of the larges producers of goods services etc. in the world of which a lot goes on export.
          They are in fact the worlds no:3 topexporter according to this chart.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_exports

          So please get your facts straight.

    • 25.2
      Scary Devil Monastery

      “Rick what would be good if USA was brought down? USA is the nation that keeps the whole world going, economy and innovationwise.”

      That’s tantamount to asking “What is so good about gravity?”

      The US is artificially pumping a fiscal bubble, trying to maintain a standard of living which isn’t sustainable. Borrowing two dollars for every dollar earned. And trying to keep the ponzi scheme from bursting by protectionism, military threat, and extensive industrial espionage (what else did you think SWIFT can be used for?).

      That’s not just Falkvinge saying so – it’s every trained economist you can lay your hands on.

      It’s pretty much a given that the US economy will fail – as will the Euro, given the frenzied pilfering of it by EU member states for the last ten years. Right now, the bitcoin actually looks stable in comparison to either the dollar or the euro. You don’t believe that, fine.

      But don’t even try to feed us a line of garbage on how the US keeps the “whole world going”. Seen their deficits lately? No nation, EVER, has had similar debts. They were forced to raise the ceiling on how big loans they could take just to pay interests. Fiscal-wise, the US is Greece.

      • 25.2.1
        Googla

        Scary what you are accusing USA of you could just as well accuse almost any big country of.
        You Rick and a lot of those trained economs are seriously mistaken about the state of USAs economy. USA is not just the government & state but also it’s citizens who just happens to be reallty succesful businessmen and producers of goods etc. that are in huge demand all over the world.

        By the way some of those trained economs who a lot of pessimists have quoted as messiases have actually just recently been proved wrong. on USAs long term economics.

        As for the loans as long as USA manages to pay interest or pay them back as required then they don’t have any big problems with it so sorry for you and Rick. USA the Dollar or even the Euro won’t fail anyday soon.

        • Scary Devil Monastery

          “Scary what you are accusing USA of you could just as well accuse almost any big country of.”

          Indeed. The difference being that after the early 19th century, nations started calling one another’s bluffs in order to ensure this couldn’t happen.

          Today there are two major players trying to keep this up. EU and the US. Neither will last as their fiscal records today are worse off than even the late unlamented Sovjet Union.

          “USA is not just the government & state but also it’s citizens who just happens to be reallty succesful businessmen and producers of goods etc. that are in huge demand all over the world.”

          The point is, I believe, that they really aren’t.

          In industry the US is being beaten hands down by roughly a dozen asian countries where manufacture of anything from high-quality clothing to high-spec electronics comes out with a COGS of less than 1/10 of what it would be were the goods manufactured within the US.

          In the Service industry the US (and to be blunt, the entire west) is currently being beaten hands down by Indian cubicle farms.

          What the US actually has today is high internal turnover, a VAST and exponentially increasing trade deficit, and nothing, really, to balance those scales.
          That leaves the US with being an intermediate. I think you’ll find with even a cursory glance that today almost all of the US economy lies in handling fiscal matters. Sure. Banking commissions worked for the swiss, but then the swiss were never insane enough to hyperinflate the currency in which they were mainly trading.

          “As for the loans as long as USA manages to pay interest or pay them back as required then they don’t have any big problems with it…”

          Funny you should say that:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_debt-ceiling_crisis_of_2013

          In order to pay their interests the US has to increase the absolute limit on the amount of new loans it can make.

          In short, they are taking instant loans in order to pay their interest on their previous ones. And you believe this to be sustainable…how?

    • 25.3
      Austin Williamson

      Hell it does.

      The country that keeps the world going is… China. It not only lends to governments and produces the world’s goods: it’s the biggest market for goods globally. USA does nothing but produce wars- that benefit only American interests. With the collapse of american militarism- and the USA itself- the world would be free.

      You’re like bloody Raiden. You don’t get it, do you? We’re bringing down the Patriots so the world will be free. A life in a gilded cage is a life not worth living- there is no substitute for freedom, however anarchic it may seem. You can keep your prison society. The world wants to be free.

      • 25.3.1
        Googla

        But Austin I do get it. The fact that you don’t have a clue, USA does produce a lot of things besides wars.

        This text from Wikipedia ought to set you straigt!
        “The United States is a developed country and has the world’s largest national economy, with an estimated 2012 GDP of $15.6 trillion – 19% of global GDP at purchasing-power parity, as of 2011.[6][19][20] The per capita GDP of the U.S. was the world’s sixth-highest as of 2010,[6] although America’s income inequality was also ranked highest among OECD countries by the World Bank.[21] The economy is fueled by an abundance of natural resources, a well-developed infrastructure,[22] and high productivity;[23] and while its economy is considered post-industrial it continues to be one of the world’s largest manufacturers”

        It’s really funny that you seem to be really fond of China but you state “there is no substitute for freedom, however anarchic it may seem. You can keep your prison society.”

        Which country do you think comes closest to that statement USA or China?

  26. 26
    you_are_factually_in_error

    The U.S. did not print $16 trillion in 2011. This is a commonly-repeated factual error. I see it often enough to make me believe the misunderstanding is willful.

    To find out the truth, read the federal reserve audit yourself (as I did). Or, spend a few minutes on the Google.

    • 26.1
      Googla

      Rick is in fact more often than not factually in error, but that doesn’t stop him and his cohord of fanboys from sprouting bs.

      • 26.1.1
        Rick Falkvinge

        Ah. Hello, “Googla”. This is the sixth name you have used here in two months. Your particular style of poor English is quite noticeable, apart from a number of technical markers that identify you as trying to appear as multiple people.

        While I don’t mind people changing aliases from time to time, or using one-off identifiers (or none at all) for personal security reasons, I’d prefer if you tried to not appear as multiple people with your rather pointless and unbacked assertions that I’m stupid.

        By the way, just across me from my desk is that award from Foreign Policy reminding me that other people think I’m one of the world’s 100 top thinkers, right beside a number of similar awards. In the same vein, I’m being quoted more and more in China for having been spot on with one of the best possible investments when I bought bitcoin in 2011. You have some uphill battle trying to convince me and other readers as an anonymous commenter on my blog that my capacity for analysis and fact-crosschecking is below average. :)

        Cheers and enjoy the long weekend (seeing that you’re from Sweden, in or close to Johanneshov, Stockholm),
        Rick

        • Googla

          Rick maybe you shouldn’t take that top thinker-award too seriously?

          Anybody can easily check your “analyses” and “facts” for faults and outright lies which they are more often than not packed full of.

          As for my english it’s certainly not worse than your americanised quasiintellectual garble.

          And as for your bitcoininvestment can’t you honestly tell us how many bitcoins you have or how much you have earned or lost?
          You have been sending mixed messages about this for a long time. Which really makes your bitcoin hyping appear dodgy to say the least.

          Its pathetic that you who often have claimed that being anonymous on the net is important, tries to out those who oppose you and your flawed “analyses”.

        • Austin Williamson

          @Googla:
          Oh, hell. Most of us can tell sockpuppeting- or hydraing- when we see it anyways- and it’s not as if he actually outed you.

          Here’s the thing: you don’t offer critques of his analysis. You just offer mindless, stupid hate. You don’t provide evidence, you provide rhetoric. You may have a career as a Fox newscaster or a goddamned Republican, but your lack of art in sophistry will prove your undoing. On the internet, we’re all geniuses. How damned hard is it find evidence to back assertions?

        • Googla

          Austin if my critizism was totally unfounded I guess neither you notr Rick would be so upset.
          Rick has in the article above made a terribly flawed analyse and forgot to mention vital facts. And what about the 16 Trilion dollars that Rick claim USA have printed up in 2011 but thats just fiction.
          Like a lot of Ricks homemade facts.
          As I have said before Rick may have some good knowledge about something (dazzling fanboys?) but it aint economics.

      • 26.1.2
        Mario.

        I have a story to share about the dollars:
        There have been a HUGE amount of the new dollars printed, all ready for release into circulation — the latest series with new security features, and… it has been discovered that all the banknotes need sorting and many need to be destroyed as parts of it were not covered by the print.

        This happened some time ago, and.. for the record, U.S. dollars are not printed by USA, they are printed by Koenig-Bauer..

  27. 27
    AmericaTheBountiful

    Don’t hate me just because you want to be like me.

  28. 28
    dmol8

    Falkvinge depending on how deep I am replying in a comment thread affects if I can see where in the text my typing will go. The deeper in the thread I reply the better the chance I will not see where my typing will go. This is a bug that removes a feature that has been available to people using computers for at least 30 years. It does not happen all the time but it does happen. Please try and get it fixed.

  29. 29
    Jennifer

    Rick, there are a number of things that don’t do you credit here.

    1. I realize that you dislike the US as a nation. I certainly agree there are many bad things about it, and as a citizen I grow increasingly nervous. But. The tone of this article is kind of…well, it’s sort of like you’re cheering my destruction. I have to live here, you know? Couldn’t you at least feel a little sorry for me? America isn’t a faceless mass of evil doers. We’re millions of normal people trying to get by under a bad government.

    2. When you mention your awards to people like Googla, it rubs me wrong. Have you ever seen those commenters who trot out a list of academic credentials instead of answering their opponent’s argument? I don’t know if you mean it this way, but it comes across as rather self important.

    3. I don’t see like seeing commenters, even trolls, get their location outted (Unless they are obviously paid shills from a PR organization. Then you can make an exception). Seeing how online privacy is a big deal, it looks particularly bad when you yourself don’t respect it. It was fine that you called out how Googla used six different user names. That was enough of a rebuke.

    Sorry if I hurt any feelings here. I’ve done and said plenty of things online that I regretted later. :P

    Best wishes,
    Jennifer

    • 29.1

      Thank you for your thoughts, Jennifer!

      First, I definitely don’t dislike the United States as a nation. I’ve done a lot of travel stateside and I several of my best friends/colleagues live in the US. However, many seem unaware that the US is a very aggressive bully on the geopolitical stage, essentially whistling Rains of Castamere to the rest of the world (meaning, subtly hinting “serve us or we’ll destroy you”). This is what I’d like to end, and come the day that ends, I would definitely cheer.

      Second, you have a very good point that it’s bad form to flaunt awards in an ordinary discussion. I just didn’t feel that was an ordinary discussion; it’s a person who has relentlessly been blindly asserting that I’m stupid and that nobody is listening to me anyway. That became an argument in itself, and I felt the need to tell this person what level of countercredibility his/her assertions were up against. The correct thing to do would perhaps have been to not care about that person at all, and perhaps I went ahead of myself. Thank you for pointing that out.

      Third, as for privacy, I have been continuously adamant that information hygiene is increasingly vital (in many places, it is already a question of whether you live or die). The X-files said “Trust no one”; this is the idea I’m trying to plant. You cannot and should not trust anyone. An information hygiene that is designed on trusting a third party is broken by design. A system that you can trust has to be designed on mistrust of everybody else, and you need to be acutely aware of exactly what tracks you leave behind. Therefore, while I may be on the side of the top of the bell curve here (choose which side yourself), I try to constantly reinforce in action that the responsibility for people’s privacy lie with themselves, and that they cannot trust anybody. (This night’s NSA scandal very much underscores that basic principle.)

      Cheers and enjoy the weekend,
      Rick

    • 29.2
      tal1m0n

      1.) More so today than any time in recent history there appears to be a large gap of sentiment between the US Government / Military / Financial position and the actual US people.

      The thing about it is the longer this crazy freak show circus is allowed to continue then the more the average American will suffer in the present moment and during the end.

      Many see the collapse of our currency and current power structure is a chance to start over and do things right. Sooner it ends the sooner we can have a new beginning and improved quality of life for everybody.

      2.) Listing awards and qualifications does seem a bit of less than humble but it’s like being accused of dropping out of Highschool and getting a GED when you’ve actually got a Master’s Degree. The best thing to do is ignore a troll though we all have our breaking point.

      3.) I see what you mean about stopping at the 6 different user names but really there is nothing that can be done with an IP address or vague location unless they are an ISP teemed up with the FBI.

      And if he really cares to keep his identity private (from the groups that can actually track him) then it’s his responsibility to utilize a VPN + other techniques.

      Really interesting blog Rick. I’m going to enjoy surfing through these articles.

    • 29.3
      Mario.

      “2. When you mention your awards to people like Googla, it rubs me wrong. ”

      Come on… some award is not “an academic achievement”, it is just a statement of one group to like or appreciate someone who receives such award.

      Googla could have countered that US president have got a much more prestigious award (Nobel prize) without actually doing anything.

      But Rick… I believe that you are being blinded by Googla too, when you start reacting the way you do, you will start to overlook small mistakes you do first, and then it will end with the inability to see any calamity coming to you when someone like him will be pointing to you. This is a known fact, it is present in many systems with some kind of control loop.

      Rick, like it or not, the US will be whistling the song this whole century too.

  30. [...] Forrás: Falkvinge.net [...]

  31. 30
    Mario.

    U.S. Dollar… “which is the only thing propping up the nation’s status as a worldwide superpower”

    Wrong.

    Look at the picture on the second half of the page.
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/carriers.htm

    Let’s just assume that USA will be the prime power ’till the end of the world, because that’s the scenario I believe in, not because I like it, because the facts point to it. Now, please, tell me a bitcoin prediction that leaves this current factual point intact.

    • 30.1
      Aed38

      Aircraft carriers the only thing propping up the US as a superpower?

      Wrong

      Those aircraft carriers take a hell of a lot of money to finance. They don’t run on happy thoughts and rainbows. The US dollar and our economy is 100% propping up our national defense.

      The US has only been a superpower for 70 years. I find your “till the end of the world” hypothesis laughable since Rome, China, and England were superpowers for hundreds of years. They all fell.

      I’m an American and the core values and heritage of this country are something to be proud of. However, our country is now run by corrupt politicians who serve corporate money and Wall Street. Our money is currently controlled by a private institution that operated outside of government legislation (the fed).

      Change is in progress, and bitcoin or some other crypto currency should serve as the catalyst to this change.

  32. 31
    patriot

    Way to many stupid smart people on this sight!!!

    • 31.1
      Noname Coward

      Dear Patriot, I don’t usually pull a spelling Nazi, but if you’re going to try and sound clever, then you had better get a handle on your spelling. We need a standard if we are to communicate and debate matters. Perhaps you are proof of the slide in living standards/education in the USA?

      Way too many stupid smart people on this site!
      1. Stupid smart is a contradiction in terms,
      2. “to” should be “too”,
      3. “sight” should be site and lastly
      4. Don’t scream at us – single exclamation will do.

      Best regards.

  33. 32
    T N Watt-Knott

    Rick,

    So you want a change in the policies and behavior of the US government in the world. Many of us do. But to accomplish that, it’s hardly necessary to ‘bring down’ the US. Doing so would result in huge costs to the world and the potential of enormous suffering for millions, not just in the US. Who would want that to happen? The current path seems to be leading us there sooner than we would like to think, anyway, and isn’t it precisely that we must avoid? No, don’t go hoping for the US to be brought down. Instead, focus on how to weaken (or even break) the power base of the less-than-1% elite that control Wall Street and, through Wall Street, the media, the corporations, and ultimately control the majority of influence on Washington’s policies.

    But as with every change/reformation/revolution, there is the risk that someone uses it for their own purposes… who else would become the new elite if the old one is removed? Is the devil you don’t know necessarily better than the devil you know?

  34. 33
    MIke B

    Bitcoins may or may not overwhelm traditional currancy, but at the moment they are elitest tokens. I only say that because very few people in the culture at large are even aware of them, much less use them for commerce. Anyone who says otherwise cannot see the forest for the trees. Personally I would love to see the current financial system dissapear. When 1% of the population control 99% of the assets and use them to destroy the earth for their own greed and benefit, I say fuck them.
    I personally dont know much about bitcoins except a few articles like this that I see occasionally. I wouldn’t have any idea how to get them or what to do with them if I did. Most likely I’ll end up in the same place either way. Someone else with the knowledge of how to aquire them enmasse, will have 99% of them, and I’ll still be in the 1% of the masses that don’t.

    • 33.1
      M

      “When 1% of the population control 99% of the assets and use them to destroy the earth for their own greed and benefit, I say fuck them.” – What you don’t understand is that 99% are destroying the Earth. Those same fucking DUMB people should, in your opinion, own (a lot of) BTC right now and then one day come out richer than they are right now … really? If 99% have no balls nor courage nor intelect nor skills to remove 1% than I don’t see why 99% should go any better.

    • 33.2
      M

      “When 1% of the population control 99% of the assets and use them to destroy the earth for their own greed and benefit, I say fuck them.” – It is 99% destroying the Earth, not 1%

  35. 34

    Hi there, You’ve done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  36. 35

    The @BitcoinRat is aboard captain ! !

  37. […] att en stor fördel med Bitcoin är att valutan är frikopplad från någon regerings inflytande. http://falkvinge.net/2013/06/04/how-bitcoin-can-bring-down-the-united-states-of-america/ Under bankkrisen i Cypern 2013 införde regeringen en avgift på kapital i Cypriotiska banker, och […]

  38. […] Good read, even if no interest in bitcoin RT @drandakis: How Bitcoin can bring down the United States of America falkvinge.net/2013/06/04/how-b… […]

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Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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